Equality Utah Releases 2012 Endorsements, Some Stay Private

(KCPW News) Equality Utah has released its list of endorsed candidates for statewide office, Congress, the legislature and local races based on their views on LGBT issues and their viability as candidates. Executive Director Brandie Balken says the organization sent out surveys after the parties held their political conventions, adding that more candidates continue to participate in their endorsement process.

“Year after year, we see more and more people from all political parties responding to our survey and coming in for an interview, and in that, I believe that the education process is continuing. People are beginning to understand more and more that gay and transgender people are regular Utahns,” she says.

No Republicans are among the candidates Equality Utah is publicly endorsing for the legislature, Governor or Congress. One is libertarian, while the rest are Democrats.

But Balken notes the organization makes private endorsements as well, including candidates from both major parties.

“There are folks who see that it may not be to their best interest within their campaign to accept a public endorsement, but it’s important for them and their ideology and what they support and what they believe in for all Utahns to come in to interview with us and to receive the support of Equality Utah,” says Balken.

Only one candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives received the group’s public endorsement: Salt Lake City Council Chairman Soren Simonsen, who’s running as a Democrat in District 3 against Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz. In the Senate, Equality Utah is backing Democrat Scott Howell.